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Daily Dose

Fed Considers Removing ‘Patient’ Pledge on Raising Interest Rates

In recent interviews, the Fed has made it clear they want to move away from the pledge to be patient. They have held their benchmark short-term rate, the federal funds rate, near zero since December 2008. The lackluster housing market was concern on Yellen’s mind when she gave the speech emphasizing the patience pledge.

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Research Says Bidding Wars Are Here to Stay

In the 1980s, only 3 to 4 percent of homes were sold in bidding wars. From 1995 to 2005 that number skyrocketed, with Washington D.C., having on the highest rates at nearly 30 percent of homes sold involved in bidding wars. However, according to the study although an increase in bidding wars was correlated with economic and housing booms, that rise was not consistent from one jurisdiction to another. In the Houston, the rate was only 11 percent, even though the city benefited from the housing boom.

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CFPB Discrimination Report Made Public

CFPB

Allegations of workplace discrimination within the CFPB arose in 2013 when documents were leaked by employees to the media. Employees alleged they were givin unfair evaluations based on gender, race, and age, not job performance. Head of the CFPB Rirchard Cordray admitted the employee evaluation system used in 2012 and 2013 was unfair and launched his own internal report last year. Cordray’s report found black and Hispanic workers, those over age 40, those outside Washington, D.C. and those in the union were more likely to get bad performance evaluations under the system, which worsened their pay and career advancement prospects.

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Report Shows Salary Needed to Buy Homes in 27 Cities

On a national scale, with 20 percent down, a buyer would need to earn a salary of $48,603.82 to afford the median-priced home. Of course it is possible to buy a home with less than a 20 percent down payment, but a lower down payment means the buyer’s salary must be higher to afford the same home. In the national example above, a purchase of a median-priced home with only 10 percent down and including the cost of PMI increases the income needed to $56,140.44, an increase of $7,500.

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Quicken Loans Says Supreme Court Decision has No Impact On Company

Quicken has been involved in several lawsuits involving overtime pay for its mortgage workers, including a class-action federal suit brought by 400 former employees that the company won in 2011. In that case, a federal jury ruled that the Quicken employees did not qualify for overtime pay because the federal rules in effect during their time at the company didn't require it, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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Survey: Labor Force for Residential Construction is 3.5 Million Strong

The NAHB residential construction employment estimates include self-employed workers. Counting self-employed is particularly important in the home building industry since they traditionally make up a larger share of the labor force. According to the 2013 ACS, one out of four construction workers is self-employed, while an economy-wide average does not reach 10 percent of the employed labor force.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Mortgage Bankers Eligible for Overtime Pay

MBA filed complaint in the Federal District Court challenging the Administrator’s Interpretation, saying the document was inconsistent with 2004 regulation. More important to the case, the MBA argued the administrative ruling was procedurally invalid in light of the D.C. decision in the Paralyzed Veterans case, which ruled rule amendments can’t be made without notice and opportunity for comment because it violated the Administrative Procedure Act (ACA).

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Fannie Mae Releases February 2015 National Housing Survey

One area where Duncan said needs improvement in order for the prediction of the economy "dragging housing upward" to come true is in the area of wage gains. According to the BLS employment report released last week, the average hourly wage increased from January to February by only 3 cents up to $24.78 – after rising by 12 cents from December to January.

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Cash Sales Decline for 24th Consecutive Month

Cash sales made up 35 percent of all home sales in December 2014, according to data released by CoreLogic today. December marks the 24th consecutive month of declines in year-to-year share numbers, which has fallen each month since January 2013. Because of seasonality, cash sale comparisons are best when looking at year-to-year data. Cash transactions hit its peak in January 2011 when cash transactions made up 46.5 percent of total home sales. Before the housing crisis, the cash sale share of total home sales averaged at about 25 percent. If the trend of cash sales decline continues at the same rate, the share should reach 25 percent by the middle of 2017.

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